Note to our readers: There is only one more section after this to go in the revisions/additions to the original "Christopher" story. As you can see, I (Joe) have learned a lot about my writing style over the past couple weeks. Considering where I am and the circumstances that brought me here (even though the words are all typed/edited by Andrew), it amazes me what the body will endure. I told Andrew that he is free to wordsmith and help me write. This is not just my story, though the "Chris & Joe" series was pre-Andrew. Andrew is a large help in me getting these stories published to the Nifty Archive. Without him, you would never have seen these.

Chris & Joe - Part 10

August once again brought us to school. We spent the afternoon unpacking and setting up our room. This involved clothes being hung up or folded to fit in drawers, making our beds, setting up Chris' stereo, and getting posters hung on the walls. We had arrived on campus around noon. It was 4:00 p.m. by the time we were done hanging the last poster.

We had a supply of day-old bread from home so we grabbed it and headed out to the river on the far end of campus. We sat there, alone, for the rest of the afternoon, feeding the ducks and watching the blue sky turn to sunset and then to dusk. The planets emerged and then the stars slowly winked into existence as the dusk became night. The crickets seemed to know we were there and started chirping, as if on cue with the moonrise. Not to be outdone, the bullfrogs started their bass duet.

As the air cooled, Chris moved behind me. I put on my sweatshirt and he put his hands on top of mine in my pockets. He put his head against my back and we listened to what the night was telling us.

"Joseph loves Christopher - Christopher loves Joseph ..." I echoed. I couldn't see it, but I could feel Chris' face change shape into a large smile as I continued my own symphony. Hey, the night creatures weren't going to have all of the fun.

"Yes, we do love each other. I could say I love you more, but that's not true. And I know you don't love me more. We feel exactly the same for each other. This is the beginning of our fourth year of love, Joe. I don't know, in my heart, if I really loved you from the first day we met, but you grew on me so incredibly fast that you made me feel safe and happy right from the beginning. I do love you. I always will."

"I promise, from right here (I put my hand on top of his hand on top of my heart), to love you and to be in love with you all the days of my life."

"Joe. You're tops. How can I feel anything but love for you when you say things like that to me?"

"You're not supposed to feel anything but love for me, my bud. You're supposed to think I'm the best there is and to miss me second by agonizing second when we're apart."

I laughed softly, only a wee bit serious. I hoped to God that Chris would always feel moved by me, to know my humor and to like it for the way it was intended. He did. He knew me inside and out and he always knew why I said what I did. We've had discussions of all flavors, from the serious to the truly goofy.

"Did you come to school expecting to find romance with a guy?"

"No. I never gave a relationship with another guy serious thought. I've always enjoyed, equally, my male and female friends. Sex wasn't a big part of who I hung out with, so we concentrated on the friendships."

"Chris, get out of my head. You reached inside my brain and pulled that answer right out of my thoughts!"

"We're one, Joe, my love. We really are one mind."


"Yes, Joe. I know. Me too."

I soon found his hand on my crotch instead of inside my pocket. He rubbed the denim of my jeans until I started to respond, which was about 2 1/3 seconds. The man knew how to get me hard. He slid his hand inside my jeans.

"No briefs today, Joe?"

"Nah, I didn't want to create laundry so soon," I smirked.

"I love your cock, Joe. I could play with this and suck this, lick this, and get fucked by this all my life."

"It's yours man. Do what you want to, just save me some of the cream, okay?"

He lay me on my back and lay on my chest, putting his crotch right in my face and reaching down, in a 69, to my cock. He sucked it into his mouth and played with it with his tongue. I unzipped his jeans and swallowed him whole. He wasn't quite hard yet, but I made short work of that. We licked and sucked each other like we were doing it for the first time. He put his finger in my ass at the same time I put mine in his - not that we were predictable or anything. But we did know what the other liked. Considering that we were both guys, we could be quite creative in our sex and lovemaking. And sometimes all we really wanted to do to the other was wrap our arms around our partner's body and hold on tight.

A cool breeze blew down Chris' back and he shivered from the sensation of it. A moment later his cream filled my mouth. I hadn't been prepared for it, thinking I could be sucking on his cock for the next several minutes at least.

"Hey no fair! I'm not done sucking your dick yet!"

"I couldn't help it, bud. The chill breeze was an amazing thrill. It sent me right off."

"Damn. So now what?"

He didn't answer. He just lay back down on top of me and gave me one hell of a blowjob. I lay there fingering his asshole as he sucked me, and then sucked on his balls. It wasn't long before he was hard again.

"Hey bud, let's not waste this. Why don't you, uh, fuck me, if you get my drift."

"Subtle, Joe, really subtle. I take it you want me to fuck you."



"No tomorrow morning. Yes of course now, bozo."

"I dunno Joe. I think I'd rather suck your sweet cock and let you give me your hot load."

"Nah Chris, you'd rather plow your 7-1/2 hard inches of pure man meat into my tight little ass."

"Really? Gee, I guess I got to think about that for a few minutes."

He sucked me some more, humming and eventually giggling with my cock in his mouth.

"Hey, do that again. That felt soooo cool!"

He did. I blew off in his mouth with very little effort. I ground my cock into his mouth as I shot a thick load. It had been six days since our last sexual playtime so the load was long in coming. When I was spent, I lay there and hummed into his ass.

"Amazing what gets us off isn't it, Joe?"

"Yeah, bud. Remember that one. That was just great. I think we ought to fool around more often while we're fooling around, don't you think?"


"Uh, fuck me?"

"I guess I have to now since you're going limp on me."

"Hey, if I'm with you and I'm limp, whose fault is that??"

"Not mine! I'm a stud. Look at me man, I'm 7-1/2 inches of pure man meat. And you're not."

"Forget it then, I don't want to be fucked."

"Like hell."

"Okay okay, I NEED to be fucked. You going to do it or am I going to have to go cruise the student lounge for some fine young piece?"

"You don't know how to cruise, Joe. I have spoiled you for almost four years. In fact, I don't think you know how to look at another man."

"Look, but don't touch."

"You scum! You look at other guys?"


"You lie."

"Okay, if you say so."

"Joe, do you want this cock or not?"

"Don't want it ... need it. Need it bad my bud. Gimme! Uh, please gimme!"

I spread my legs and put them on his shoulders. I fingered my own ass, imitating his fucking of my hole.

"That's better."

"By the way, I never look at other guys. Well, maybe guys in baseball uniforms because I like their tight asses. And guys in basketball uniforms because I like their legs and sexy knees. And young hot male students in their tight denim, showing off their baskets. And ..."

He mounted my ass and plunged in, sliding all his length into me in one motion. He pumped his cock in and out of my tight asshole, making me moan with the pleasure that I had known for almost four years.

"... And only at my sweet lover man, Chris, who makes all other guys seem like ogres."

"What about young hot male students in their tight denim?"

"That's you."

"And guys in basketball uniforms with sexy knees?"

"That's you too."

"And baseball players in ass-hugging uniforms?"

"That's ... hmmm, hey Chris, you sure do know how to fuck real good. How 'bout them Red Sox, eh?"

We laughed at each other, out loud. He knew as well as I did that there was one man who had all of my attention, and who would never have to worry about wandering eyes. I loved one man. I kissed him as he fucked me and whispered into his ear. I wasn't saying anything in particular, but it made him giggle some more.

"Hey, get serious man. You happen to be fucking the ass of your one and only true love. No giggling while making love. I might think you are enjoying yourself or something. Serious up!"

"Get serious? With you throwing jokes right and left. Never my man, I will hardly ever be serious with you. You bring me great joy and I laugh because you bring out the very best in me."

"I'm trying to bring out the best in your cum but you're not cooperating very well. I'm hungry ... fill my ass then fill my mouth."

He knew how to do that without trying. He pumped his dick into me a few more times, then pulled out and shoved it into my mouth. I swallowed his cream and licked his cock. I reached up and played with his dangling balls with my left hand and pushed a finger into his asshole with my right. He shivered uncontrollably and shot out at least two more spurts than usual.

"Jeez, Joe, you really know how to make me want to come back for more."

"You don't look at other guys either, right?"

"What other guys? You're the only one I want to look at, at least seriously. Now about those boys in tight denim - where did you see them?"

I reached up and pulled him on top of me, kissed his lips and ran my tongue into his mouth. I gave him puppy dog eyes and my most sincere smile.

"Never mind, Joe. I forgot what I was asking you. It must not have been important."

We got dressed and sat under the stars for another hour, arm in arm, his head on my shoulder. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine. He kissed me gently. We walked from the river to the top of the ridge and half way back to campus holding hands. When we got to our room and closed the door, I lay on top of him on his bed and kissed him until we both fell asleep, still dressed.

Except for the holidays and summer vacation, Chris and I always slept in each other's arms. We were offered the chance to room with two friends in an apartment on campus these last two years. We preferred the dorms in general because we were very social, and the chance to be alone specifically. We could not hold each other unless we lived alone. It felt so good to be in his arms again on this late summer night. We snuggled together as the cool breeze drifted in, the slightly chill air helping us to sleep soundly.

We were finally seniors. No 8:00 classes unless we wanted them. We didn't. No Friday at 4:00 classes either, since they were just as bad on one's attitude. I needed five courses this semester and next semester in order to graduate on time. Chris needed four now and only three his last semester. I told him he must have cheated along the way, even though we were carrying different majors with different requirements. Somebody was letting him off easy while they were making me work harder. So then I pouted - which just made him smile and kiss me. He told me I was smarter than he was, so they let me carry five courses and him only three. Worked for me!

In the morning we got up and ran our twelve-mile route, showered, had breakfast in the student union (while NOT looking at young freshmen in tight denim, much), and headed for Boston again. This had become our yearly ritual. I didn't start work at the gas station until next week and at the restaurant until Wednesday. I kept the old jobs for the same reason I started them, to help pay college expenses. I also wanted the comfort of knowing I'd done something steady for four years, to show future prospective employers that I was loyal. Or something like that. Chris still worked too, for the Athletic Department. I wondered how many guys were checking out his sexy knees. Look all you want guys but Chris' heart and other things belong to his Joe.

He was in only two of my classes this semester. Next semester it would be down to only one. I hope this didn't mean we were drifting apart. Nah couldn't happen. We were in class together, then he worked, then I was working while he was in a class and then we caught up in the afternoon and lay on one of our beds and studied (like Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neil did in "Love Story" - not a great movie, but a good movie - and you guys stop laughing at me because by now you KNOW I'm an old romantic and of course I love the old and classic romantic-type stuff!).

One morning, feeling daring, Chris and I got into the shower together when we were alone in the bathroom. We didn't want to get caught, but we did want to see what it would be like to 'live dangerously'. I sucked his cock and then he sucked mine. We heard the bathroom door open and someone got into the shower stall opposite ours. We tried our damnedest not to laugh or make noise. I soaped up my dick and slid it inside his ass. I pumped into him for five minutes, more excited than usual in the morning because one of our friends was close by, having no clue what was going on in the same bathroom. I came without making noise and then got down on my knees and ate out Chris' asshole. He then got behind me and fucked the hell out of me, daring me not to make any noise. He almost did by the time he shot his load five minutes later. About mid-fuck the guy got out of the shower and toweled off. We would be about two feet from him by then. He shaved and then left, just as Chris was giving me his cum up my ass. Having had enough excitement for the morning, Chris quickly darted across the floor to the second shower stall. We might do it again sometime. Into each life a little adventure (and curiosity) must fall.

We ran five mornings a week, choosing not to run on the weekends. We played basketball on weekend afternoons. We tutored freshmen and sophomores and juniors and our peers and evening students. We prepped for a 10K race in New York state. We worked hard and kept our grades up. We talked to Rob once a week like clockwork. Chris' mom sent a care package from home on alternating months with my mom doing the same. We played extra basketball or ran a couple more miles to make up for the goodies. We sat in classes and took good notes, sharing them with friends who had missed classes or just weren't as good at it as we were. We won basketball games with our team at home and on the road. We made love or just held each other. We did day trips to Boston or to the shore or to the mountains for hiking. We decided that after four years of being on the go constantly that working for a living was going to be a nice break. We were experts at time management and sometimes at stress management.

The Berkshires annual Thanksgiving holiday ran up to us and tapped on our shoulder. Didn't we just get back to school? We were on summer vacation a moment ago, and what the heck happened to September, October and three-quarters of November anyway? But the weekend, all four days of it, passed at a reasonable pace. The weather was nice so we spent it all outside except for a couple hours at the dining room feast table.

This was our last holiday away together as college students. Christmas would be spent with our own families. Spring break would be spent on campus, working, and in Boston doing job hunting. We hoped to be gainfully employed by the 4th of July.

Chris and I went back out to the river we were at in August when he got sick. He liked this spot better than any other in this part of the state. We lost two loads apiece here this afternoon, amongst the reeds. When we walked away all was right with the world. We could come back in the future of course, but Chris wanted to have good thoughts about his favorite hide-away.

Semester finals were at hand when we got back to school. I cut back a little on my hours at the gas station so we could study together. Up to now, Chris had a 3.8 cumulative GPA and I had a 3.6. We had said that if we finished off with a 3.5 GPA for four years, we would be quite content. I'd always been a "B" student and I also knew that what I'd learned in these four years was as much from the outside world as it was from a classroom.

Christmas found us in our respective hometowns once again for two weeks. My brother and I got on our skis and wandered through the woods after chores were done. We got home in time to help dad and to get some dinner. He went out with his buddies and I called mine at home. We got back to campus on Saturday, a day early.

January again found us in each other's arms, sleeping contentedly. Classes, work, studying, basketball, soccer ... and making love. This is what a day was made of. It was far from routine and boring. We marched onward through days that were satisfying in every way they could be.

In February we began our job searches, wondering where we would end up. Luck, or just the desire not to separated, helped us both find jobs in Boston in early May, albeit for two different companies. Both our parents hated the idea we'd be working in "the big city", but felt better that we could room together and take care of each other. For now, there was one more set of finals and graduation to prepare for.

On the night before graduation we went to the river to feed the ducks one more time. We made love for two hours at the edge of the water. We climbed to the top of the ridge and let the warm breeze blow over us. We watched the sun set and the stars come out. The scenery of this place would last a lifetime in our memories. We didn't have to take a picture of it to know what it was like.

And we made love one more time in our room, laying amongst our belongings now packed up. We slept in each other's arms for the last time for almost two months. We would not start work in Boston until July 1st, our employers allowing us the time we needed to see our families and to move and settle. The break between school and the working world would be distinct, even if it meant a few weeks for being a part. We were big boys so we could handle it.

Chris walked all over his favorite areas of his hometown. This was not goodbye, of course, but the times home now would be different as we started a different aspect of our lives. He sat at the river and fed the wildlife. He drove and looked at the town and the things he'd miss most about it. He took pictures of the best of the best to put into an album. He visited old friends, most of them also fresh out of college and moving away from home as well. He decided what stuff to bring to Boston and what to pack for storage.

I walked the pastures of our property, spending time at the big maple especially. The maple would forever be the place I promised unconditional love to my bud. I worked from 5:00 a.m. to nearly noon every day. I played basketball or baseball with my old friends. Only a small handful of them had also gone to college. Most were taking over their dad's businesses or managing their farms. We would catch up each time I came home because this would still always be home.

I packed my belongings into a small U-haul, kissed my folks and sisters goodbye, gave my brother a firm hug, and drove south for four hours. I think I became a man on the drive. No longer a college kid, or a farmer's son - I was about to step into my own different life. Mom said to take good care of Chris.

And Chris and I did take care of each other. Work, basketball, continuing education classes at night, studying again ... and making love. The days were long and as fulfilling as four years of college. Our grades arrived in July. We'd both finished with 3.8 GPAs.

We had found a two-bedroom apartment on Boston's South Shore in early June, near the subway line. We moved in mid-month. I brought my bed and dresser from home, as did Chris. After college, there was little money for furniture. We filled in the empty spaces with plants and shopped at flea markets to put together a less than stylish apartment. What did we know about furniture anyway - hell, what did we care about furniture. All we wanted was a place to call home and to make sweet love in at our whims.

We christened the kitchen, living room, bathroom and both bedrooms on our first night. We had great sex amongst moving boxes, and even on some of them. I took his cock in my hand and jacked it into a firm and straight erection. I took his cock in my mouth and sucked it, remembering what it was like the first time we had done it in our dorm. I had learned a bit about technique since then, enough to know that I loved to suck on my bud's cock and that he always enjoyed what I did for him. I took his cock up my butt, with my legs over his shoulders - my favorite position to be fucked. He did it to me nice and slow. We never went fast because it was meant to feel good and to enjoy. And I took his cream in my mouth every chance I got. I loved the reward and I loved the taste of him. The taste of his lips, cheeks, throat, chest & nipples, naval, balls, asshole, and his cock all filled me up.

When I was done with him, he jacked me to make me firm and straight. He traced my body from my lips to my cock and swallowed me whole. He stopped sucking my cock long enough to eat out my ass and balls, then went back down on me. He was a natural who really enjoyed making me tingle all over. He told me that he wanted me inside him, but that he wanted my load in his mouth tonight. So I lay him down on the floor, entered him in two thrusts, and fucked him slow and easy the way he liked it. He held on to my ass and hips as I kissed him, holding him in my arms. When I was ready to shoot, I pulled out and straddled his face. Seconds later I threw my head back as I filled his mouth and throat with my "grown man" cream. He giggled when I told him that. There was a small drop on the edge of his mouth, so I bent down and licked it up.

We went outside and sat on the balcony in the warm night air. It was at least 10 degrees warmer here than it was at my folk's house at this time of night. We did not have to be up early in the morning so we sat on the balcony and held hands, looking at what we could see of the city lights until past 3:00 a.m. We would decide if we were going to run in the morning or not. We hadn't run together since before graduation. Maybe we would drive around and find the prime routes first, or take long walks through the neighborhoods surrounding us to see what we liked. The complex we lived in had running trails which would do for the short runs. We could also run along the Charles River in Boston on the weekends. There was always Harvard Square and the neighborhoods of Cambridge. We could run along the route of the Freedom Trail in Boston, through the Italian North End, along the wharves, or around Back Bay. The city would bring us a type of life that the country had not.

In the two weeks that we lived there, we did all that. Boston was a wonderful playground. On our first morning of work, we stood and checked each other out as we finished dressing in "office duds". I was still a country boy at heart and had always felt hugely uncomfortable with a tie around my neck. But I have to admit I, uh we looked pretty cool. I went over and stood behind Chris. I slid my hand down his pants and fondled his dick until it was nice and hard. He moaned and I pulled out and gave it a light pat.

"What!!? That's it?"


"But I'm hard bud ... and willing."

"Yeah, I know. Remember hiking on the rock formations on our last summer vacation? Payback's a bitch."

I grabbed my jacket and went for the door.

"Oh man, what you did to my dick. You play dirty!"


"But ..."

"But in only 10 hours, you can put your nice hard throbbing beautiful cum-loaded cock up my ass and punish me properly. For now, we'll be late to work and that's not a good impression to leave with those who will write our paychecks."

He had to walk out to the car with his jacket folded over his arm and in front of him.

"You're blushing."


I giggled at him. I grabbed him again and he slapped my hand. But I kept messaging his cock. For someone who didn't want to be hard right now, he wasn't putting up much of a fight.

"Joe, you really gotta stop man. I'm gonna cream and I'll have to go change."

"You love me holding on to your cock, don't you Chris? You don't care that you'll have to go and change just because I make you cream in your briefs. You're so hard and hot that it's too late anyway ..."

And it was. He closed his eyes and put his head back against the seat. He shot his load inside his briefs. I reached inside and scooped out his cream. I gave him some and I took the rest.

Then I sat in the car for the five more minutes that it took him to run back inside to clean up and to change his briefs.

"All better now?"

"Yeah, at least you won't be able to make me hard again."

"What, you don't want to be hard all day?"

"Yes, just not Monday through Friday morning. Bastard."

"Yeah, and you love me anyway."


We met for lunch each day at Boston Common and ate out on Friday's. Being in the city again was fantastic. Everything that there was to love about Boston was finally ours, day after day.

There were so many things to do that we hardly knew where to start. We did the New England Aquarium, the Science Museum, rode the subway from end to end on all four lines, walked all over the Common and the Public Garden. We sat on the steps of the Capitol, walked up and over Beacon Hill, and through every square of Back Bay. Then there was the Financial District, which we both worked in. We went to the top of the Prudential Center and the John Hancock Tower, and into all the great restaurants of the North End. Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall was still our most favorite hangout.

Friday evening, at the end of our first full workweek, we lay on the sofa, holding each other. All we ever did was hold each other and listen to our favorite radio station. That's all we needed to do. It seemed that the quiet times were so few and far between that we decided that this weekend was to be ours alone. On Saturday morning we slept in until about 10:00, even though we had gone to bed around midnight. During the week we were up at 6:00, as usual, running. We decided not to run on the weekends through the summer, settling for sleep and early-morning lovemaking instead -- And sometimes mid-day lovemaking -- And usually late-evening lovemaking -- Not that we were horny or anything.

"I love you for your mind, Joe," he kidded me.

The man was lustful. He did love my mind -- and my body, especially my dick and my ass. So what's wrong with that?

"I love you, period, Chris. You know I will, always."

I too was lustful. But I did love his mind. And I did love his body, especially his dick and his ass. He wasn't complaining.

My phone rang about 3:30 one afternoon at work. Two rings told me it was an outside call, so I thought it might be Chris, even though we'd finished lunch a couple hours ago.

"Hello, this is Joe."

"Joe, this is Ethan. You need to get to Mass. General. Chris was just taken out of here by ambulance."


I missed the cradle when I went to hang up the phone. I didn't care. I ran past my boss' office and told her I had to leave and wouldn't be back today. I was pale and she knew it had to be about Chris.

"Let me know later if you can ..." she was saying.

"Okay," I yelled back so she knew I heard her.

I would let her know later too. She had met Chris and liked him, naturally. Eileen had an autistic son who loved Chris the first time he met him. We were doing work for Special Olympics, so Chris was really relaxed around kids with all kinds of abilities.

I ran across town since my car was at the subway station outside of the city. I ran up Summer Street, up to the Common, up to the hill where the Capitol sat, through the streets of Beacon Hill, down to Charles Street and to the main entrance of Mass. General. My heart was pounding in my head. I found out where he was and took the elevator. I needed help getting to his room. He wasn't there.

"Chris! Where's my buddy? My God, where's Chris?" I yelled at the nurse who came down the hall to see me.

"Joe, Joe, relax. He's down in X-ray," she said as she took me to sit down.

"You know my name?"

"Yes. Chris told me you'd be here soon. My, you are in a panic aren't you? Don't worry, he's in good hands."

And so he was. His nurse was wonderful. They had met before but she was new to me.

"Is his remission gone, Paula?"

"We don't know for sure yet, but it's likely. We'll know by early evening. You are so pale. I'm going to go get you some water. Put your feet up on the other chair and relax, okay?"

"Okay. God, my heart is still beating a mile a minute. I've dreaded this for so long, kept hoping it wouldn't ever happen."

"I know. But if it has, you'll know what to do. Chris says you always do."

"He lied. This scares me more than anything."

When she came back, she had a pitcher of cold water and a cup for me. I took two large drinks before I felt anything near calm. My hands were shaking, so she took them in hers and held them.

"No, he didn't lie. He's got faith in you because he knows you can help him. You did once. It might even be easier this time because he'll know what it's about. So will you. Take it a day at a time, Joe. That's the only way."

It was another hour before Chris was brought back. He was deathly pale, but he looked okay otherwise. Paula helped him into bed. She brushed back his hair and told him to ring if he needed anything. She gave me a hug as I stood up, and I returned it warmly. She was an angel in nurse's clothing.

"Good to see you Joe. I'm really glad you're here."

"Ethan called me. I ran like the devil himself was chasing me. I think I gotta keep a pair of sneakers in the office if I have to do this again. These shoes are the pits for running on city streets."

"I'm okay, Joe."

"I hope so, my man. What's your gut tell you?"

"That the remission is gone."

"I'm sorry."

"I know. Me too. But I'll be okay. We'll get through it like before. You're my rock, Joe, and I'll be here for you too. Together. We don't have to do anything alone, ever. Okay?"

"Okay bud. So how come it's you cheering me up?"

"Because I love you, Joe."

"Aw, Chris, you're the best."

I stood to kiss him on his forehead. Then I moved the chair closer to his bed, kicked off my shoes and put my feet up while I held his hand. We talked about work, what I was doing when I left in a hurry, how Eileen responded (he wasn't surprised), and what we'd do over the next couple weeks.

I finally went home alone. I was standing on the subway even though there were plenty of seats. I stared out at the window and didn't see any of the station stops along the way except mine at the end of the Red Line. When I walked through the door to our apartment, I fell to my knees in the middle of the living room and cried. It was 1:30 by the time I stood and went to brush my teeth. I set the alarm and lay awake in Chris' bed, staring at the ceiling, smelling his scent in his pillowcase. We're not supposed to be spending the night apart. We're supposed to be laying here holding each other tightly, sleeping soundly.

In the morning I packed a duffel knowing I was not coming home tonight after work. I wasn't going to spend the night alone again. I did go to work because I had a good project to work on and I didn't want to get behind. I wanted my boss to know that Chris was okay and that she too could count on me. She came by at 4:00 and told me I should go and see Chris. My work would keep until morning.

He was in the hospital for two weeks this time. I went to see him every lunch hour and every night after work until they tried to kick me out of his room. I wasn't leaving. After awhile I convinced the nurses and his doctor not to kick me out of his room. I wanted to be with him. They could kick me out but I wouldn't go home.

Even Chris was amazed at my total devotion to him, no matter the circumstances. He admitted that part of his fear was that I would leave him, not being able to handle that he was sick.

"Never, my bud, not on the longest coldest day in Hell would I ever leave you. I love you. You know that, but I'll tell you every day of your life anyway. I love you and I care so much for you."

He cried, in gratitude. "I love you too Joe. You really are the best there is."

I slept at his side in a chair. When the second bed in his room was empty, the nurses let me have it. Some nights I did not go home until dawn, and then only to shower and go to work. After work, I was by his side again.

The nursing staff knew there was more than friendship between us. Good, because then they would leave us alone until they had to do the basic duties. No one seemed to care that we were in love. Even the doctor gave us some room. He could do his job and he could care for Chris, but it didn't matter if he liked me or not. He did like me, because he talked to both of us like adults, letting me know the scoop too. Chris was a very sick young man. To find anyone to care so deeply was a blessing. I cared so deeply, wanting nothing in return but for him to love me too. He did.

"What'd I do to deserve you?"

"You don't deserve me. You need me. And I need you. So what was the question again?"

"Never mind. I know better than to ask such a silly question."

When he could come home, I took a long weekend off, both on Friday and Monday to be with him. He didn't need to be babied, but he did need to rest, which translated to letting me hold him for long hours at a time. I lay with him in his twin bed. We were on our sides, facing each other. I held him as he put his head on my chest. We didn't have sex, but we lay naked because we loved each other's body. He played with my dick and I played with his. When he came, I cleaned him up. And then I just held him close and we fell asleep.

In the morning I fixed him breakfast even though he did not want to eat. Even a cup of tea and a slice of toast kept me from worrying about him starving all day. I went back to work on Tuesday, telling him I would call at noon. If he were too sleepy, I told him to take the phone off the hook so I would not disturb him. He answered every day at noon. When I got home, he was on the sofa listening to the stereo. One night I was a pure nut when I got home because the subway had broken down and it was a two hour trip, when normally it was 20 or 25 minutes. He had heard it on the radio, but he knew I'd be exasperated. He knew I worried about him and that I wouldn't ever not worry. He calmed me down, though, and all was right in a matter of moments. As long as I held him in my arms, I knew we would be fine.

Any time he said 'I love you' I always said 'I love you, too.' Never 'Yeah, I know'. Always say what you mean. I had no problem ever telling him I loved him. Anytime I said 'I love you', he'd say 'Yeah, and I love you as much.' Neither one of us loved the other more than the other. We weren't in competition here, we were best friends and he was my heart mate. I wasn't his lover, because I hate that term. But we were in love - evenness, and single-minded caring.

I helped him to stay strong and to fight off the cancer. I didn't treat him any differently from one day to the other, ill or healthy. We kept a strong friendship and a loving relationship. I slept with him even when he was at his worst from chemo. He needed a steady loving hand and I gave it, unquestionably and eagerly. The sex was terrific when we could manage, but the love was 100% and without fail. When all he wanted was to be held, all I did was hold him. I didn't talk. He wanted and needed quiet and time to rest.

We showered together when I was getting ready for work each morning. He couldn't stand long on his own since he was so weak. He liked baths at the end of the day, but he still wanted a shower each morning. I washed his naked body from head to toes, helped dress in him in running shorts, helped him settle on the sofa, and then went to work.

I took him for his twice a week chemo. I sat beside him in the bathroom and held his head when he threw up. I helped clean him up and put him to bed. More than once he threw up in bed before we could get him to the bathroom. We cleaned up and I changed the sheets. On a few nights it hurt too badly to be held. The cancer pain was incredible for him. So I lay beside him and held his hand. Some nights he didn't sleep at all, which meant I did not either. I only fell asleep each night after he did. He knew the long nights were hell on me at work the next day. My friends in the office knew how well or how bad Chris was doing based on how bloodshot my eyes were. I was not cranky to them. If they wanted to talk about Chris, I told them what they wanted to know. And I kept in touch with our friends from his office.

Chris remained constantly amazed, and pleased, at my devotion to him. I was devoted out of pure love and caring. There was nothing I wouldn't do for him. I stayed with him all the rest of the summer, into the fall, all through a long winter, and into the renewal of spring.

By the spring he was feeling better. He still had a long way to go, but the news was encouraging as his cell counts dropped steadily. He stopped running fevers and the doc was able to cut back his chemo to be more bearable. We did not run every morning, but we did walk each evening. He gained energy and health over time and I kept up whatever routine we had fallen into.

Business trips occasionally kept us apart for up to a month at a time. The telephone was a good companion on the "lonely" nights. We had phone sex down to a science. We were eating our own cum just before we hung up, satisfied for now. We had all-night love sessions when we finally were together again.

We vacationed at my dad's farm and again at his folks house for a week each, once in July and once in August. In 11 years we had grown to be THE best buddies. As far ahead as I looked into my future, I saw Chris, knew what love was, and knew how to love. He taught me and I taught him. There were no fights, ever. We didn't know how. We knew how to talk and tease and admire, but we didn't know a thing about fighting.

December 24th was our time of celebration. We were driving home from a Christmas dinner with friends in Boston.

And then there was a flash. And then there was darkness. I woke to find myself in the hospital. A new journey lay ahead ...

To be continued ...

Answers to frequently-asked questions in E-mail:

Why "bud"?

No reason, it's just what we called each other. Short and sweet, and easy to say.

Re: being "lovers"

I personally hate the term "lover". I've seen it thrown around so much more in describing what someone is vs. who someone is that I've gotten to hate the word. What Chris was to me was a friend first, always. Who he was to me was a heart mate, which is about ten-fold better than being a lover.

Did you skip the part between being friends and being "lovers"?

No. That's the way it happened. As I say in the story, one night he just decided not to get into his own bed. It was a strong feeling, unspoken, that it was time to make it more than simple friendship. It was mutual because I wanted what he did, and he wanted what I did ... to be buddies and mates of the heart. Being spontaneous and just letting it happen, without discussing it to death and analyzing it inside and out, was what made us so close.

Why didn't you come out to your families?

We didn't tell our families because Chris and I were in love for each other only, not for the rest of the world. It was very personal. What's the benefit in anyone knowing we were gay? It's a label - we didn't need to be categorized. The one person in the entire world that I ever wanted to make be with (in friendship, love, and adversity) happened to be male. It wasn't his body that was the reason for the attraction. I loved his body, as you've seen, and he loved mine. But the man took my heart LONG before he took my cherry. When someone asked, the standard reply was "why do you care?" for which there never came back an answer acceptable enough to us.